Energy performance certificates, requirements and enforcement

The landlord must provide the tenant with an energy performance certificate (EPC) issued by an accredited energy assessor unless the property is exempt.

This content applies to England & Wales

How landlords can obtain an EPC certificate during the Covid-19 pandemic

The government published guidance on obtaining Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) during the coronavirus pandemic.

For more information about emergency measures introduced to deal with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on tenants and homeowners, see Coronavirus (COVID-19) and housing.

Requirement for landlords to provide an EPC

In most circumstances, the landlord and their agent must ensure that an energy performance certificate (EPC) has been commissioned for a building before it is put on the market for rent.

All reasonable efforts must be used to secure that the EPC is actually obtained within seven days of the building being put on the market and if this is not possible, it must be obtained within the following 21 days.[1]

The rating of the building expressed in the EPC must be stated in any advertisement of its sale or rental in commercial media.[2] The ratings range from A (very energy efficient) to G (energy inefficient).

The landlord or their agent must make a valid EPC available free of charge to any prospective tenant:[3]

  • at the earliest opportunity

  • no later than either when information becomes available in writing or at the property viewing, whichever is earlier

The EPC must also be given to whoever becomes the tenant. It is sufficient to provide a copy of the valid EPC and an EPC can also be provided electronically if the intended recipient consents to this.[4]

The MHCLG guide to Energy Performance Certificates has advice for landlords on their responsibility for making Energy Performance Certificates available when renting out a domestic property.

Where the landlord does not provide an EPC

A landlord who is subject to the requirement to provide an EPC is prevented from relying on a section 21 notice served at a time when they have not done so.

When an EPC is not required

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are not required for:[5]

  • buildings officially protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit (where compliance would unacceptably alter their character or appearance)

  • buildings that are used as places of worship

  • buildings that are temporary – having a planned time of use of two years or less

  • industrial sites or workshops non-residential agricultural buildings with a low energy demand, such as barns or cow sheds

  • stand-alone buildings which have a total useful floor area of less than 50 square metres

  • residential buildings used for fewer than four months or for a limited annual time of use with an energy consumption below a certain level

The landlord does not have to provide an EPC if:

  • construction on the building has not been completed[6]

  • they can show the dwelling is suitable for demolition or redevelopment[7]

  • they reasonably believe the prospective tenant is unlikely to have sufficient means to rent the building[8]

  • they reasonably believe the prospective tenant is not genuinely interested in renting the building

The landlord also does not have to provide an EPC if the prospective tenant is not a person to whom the landlord is likely to be prepared to rent out the building. However the landlord must ensure they do not contravene discrimination laws.

EPC content requirements

An energy performance certificate (EPC) must be issued by an energy assessor who is accredited to produce EPCs for that particular category of building.[9]

An EPC must express the asset rating of the building and include a reference value such as a current legal standard or benchmark.

Each EPC must also include:[10]

  • the reference number under which the certificate has been registered

  • a recommendation report

  • the address of the building

  • an estimate of the total useful floor area of the building

  • the name of the energy assessor who issued the certificate the name and address of the energy assessor’s employer, or, in the case of a self-employed energy assessor, the name under which they trade and their address

  • the date on which the certificate was issued

  • the name of the approved accreditation scheme of which the energy assessor is a member

The EPC must not contain any information or data from which a living individual, apart from the energy assessor or their employers can be identified.

An EPC is valid for 10 years, as long as no other more recent energy performance for the building in question exists on the register.[11]

Certification for a building consisting of a single dwelling may be based on the assessment of another representative building of similar design and size with a similar actual energy performance quality.[12]

EPC recommendation reports

An energy performance certificate (EPC) must include a recommendation report.[13] The report is issued by the same energy assessor who issued the EPC.

A recommendation report must include:[14]

  • recommended cost-effective measures that could be carried out in connection with a major renovation of the building

  • recommended cost-effective measures that could be carried out without the necessity of a major renovation

  • information on where the tenant can obtain more details about the energy efficiency of the building

  • information on the steps to be taken to implement the recommendations

All measures included in the report must be technically feasible for the building in question.[15] A recommendation report included in an EPC is valid for 10 years from the date of the certificate.[16]

Local weights and measures authority

The local weights and measures authority enforces the regulations relating to energy performance certificates (EPCs).[17] An authorised officer of the local weights and measures authority has the power to require production of a valid EPC and recommendation report for inspection from any potential landlord.[18] The authorised officer can take copies of any document produced for inspection.

Local enforcement of most weights and measures legislation, including that in relation to EPCs, is undertaken by Trading Standards departments.

After Trading Standards has requested information relating to an EPC, it cannot request it again for six months.[19] Requested documents must be provided within seven days from the date of the request. A person does not have to comply with this requirement if they have a reasonable excuse for not complying with the requirement.

Registration of EPCs and recommendation reports

All data relating to EPCs and recommendation reports must be registered.

Before the EPC and/or recommendation report is provided to the the person who requested it, the energy assessor must ensure the registration of the:[20]

  • EPC

  • recommendation report(s)

  • data that was collected to produce the above

Each document entered into the register is registered under a unique reference number and cannot be altered once registered.[21] Anything entered into the register must remain there for at least 20 years from the date of registration.[22]

A fee may be charged for entering data on the register.[23]

Penalties for not providing an EPC

Trading Standards may give a penalty charge for a breach of the duty to provide EPCs and recommendation reports to prospective tenants.

The penalty charge notice cannot be issued more than six months after the date of the breach.[24]

The amount of the penalty charge varies in relation to the circumstances, as specified in the regulations.[25]

Defence

There is no liability to pay the penalty charge notice where the prospective landlord can demonstrate that:[26]

  • they made a request for an EPC as soon as possible after the duty arose

  • despite all reasonable efforts and enquires, they did not possess a valid EPC at the relevant time

Where a prospective landlord failed to make an EPC available to a prospective tenant, the landlord has a defence if:[27]

  • the tenant was seeking to rent out the building due to an emergency that required the tenant’s urgent relocation

  • at the relevant time the prospective landlord did not have in his possession a valid EPC

  • there was insufficient time to obtain a certificate before renting out the building to the prospective tenant

  • the landlord provided a valid EPC to the tenant as soon as reasonably practicable after renting out the building

Reviews and appeals

The recipient of the penalty charge notice can give notice to Trading Standards requesting a review.[28] If, after a review, a penalty notice is confirmed by Trading Standards, the recipient then has 28 days from the date of the confirmation notice in which to appeal to the county court.[29]

Unauthorised disclosure of an EPC

It is an offence for any person in control or possession an EPC or recommendation report to disclose, or allow disclosure, of that information unless:[30]

  • the request for disclosure of the data is made via a website operated by the keeper of the register

  • the request includes the full postcode of the relevant building or the name of the road and city in which it is located

  • the request includes the report reference number of the valid EPC relating to that building

Disclosure is also permitted in certain circumstances where necessary for the purposes of preventing or detecting crime or an enforcement agency to perform their duties.[31]

Last updated: 26 March 2021

Footnotes

  • [1]

    reg 7 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [2]

    reg 11 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [3]

    reg 6 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [4]

    regs 12-13 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [5]

    reg 5 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [6]

    reg 5(2) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [7]

    reg 8(3) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [8]

    reg 6(3) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118

  • [9]

    reg 9(1)(c) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [10]

    reg 9(1) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [11]

    reg 9(2) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [12]

    reg 9(5) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [13]

    reg 9(1)(d) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [14]

    reg 4(2) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [15]

    reg 4(3) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [16]

    reg 4(4) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [17]

    reg 34 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [18]

    reg 35 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [19]

    reg 35(4) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [20]

    reg 27(2) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [21]

    reg 27(4) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [22]

    reg 27(5) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [23]

    reg 28 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [24]

    reg 36 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [25]

    reg 38 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [26]

    reg 37(1)(a) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [27]

    reg 37(1)(b) Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [28]

    reg 39 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [29]

    reg 40 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [30]

    reg 30 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.

  • [31]

    reg 32 Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/3118.